By Bob Reddy (Florida Catholic)
Mary Eisman knows a great deal about the Pro-Life movement, so much so that as an expert on abortion she can talk to any woman about it with confidence, empathy and understanding.
Eisman had an abortion many years ago, a difficult decision she has regretted ever since. She has since turned her grief into being an outspoken Pro-Life activist with the goal is to encourage other women to make the choice for life. â€śI know what is going through their mind. The challenges they are facing. They need to choose life.â€ť
At the opening of the Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign in front of the Planned Parenthood in Naples on Ash Wednesday Eisman ended up standing up for life in an unexpected way. Carrying a sign which read â€śI Regret My Abortion!â€ť she was ready to be a prayer witness for life. Little did she know that her choice of a wearing a pink T-shirt would enabled her to become much more active in her support of life.
Unbeknownst to Eisman ahead of time, there were 10 or so Planned Parenthood supporters, all wearing pink. First thought to be a supporter, Eisman was quickly denounced and mocked for wearing pink. However, this only emboldened her to strike up meaningful conversations about the issue of life.
â€śI was inspired by what Bishop (Frank J.) Dewane said during Massâ€ť earlier at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Eisman said. â€śHe told us to be Ambassadors of the Lord. That means we have to stand up and speak out, because we are here representing the Lord.â€ť
Stand up she did, talking clearly and calmly to anyone who wanted to confront her. She even walked right up to a woman who was holding up a sign which read â€śRespect Roe v. Wade,â€ť an apparent attempt to mock the Respect Life movement. A discussion about abortion ensued and the woman holding the sign said she was proud of her abortion and assumed Eisman would not understand. â€śI didnâ€™t understand. She told me the child would have destroyed her life. How sad. I admitted my abortion nearly destroyed mine.â€ť
Eisman was one of about 150 people who stood as â€śAmbassadors for Lifeâ€ť in front of Planned Parenthood at the corner of Creech and Goodlette-Frank roads on the first day of the Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign in Naples. In addition to Bishop Dewane, among those participating were five priests from nearby Parishes and a group from St. John Neumann Catholic High School. Those gathered carried signs supporting life and prayed the rosary.
The Naples Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign runs from March 1 to April 9, as does the Fort Myers campaign at the Planned Parenthood at College Parkway and Winkler Road. At both sites the faithful will stand and pray for an end to abortion and are encouraged to spend some time during Lent to show their support and be an â€śAmbassador for Life.â€ť
Bishop Dewane noted during Mass for a Prayer Walk for Life in Port Charlotte on Feb. 21 that it is important to talk about Life â€śin ways of morality and spirituality, because we are talking about the life of a human being. This is not just a political issue, it is a moral one.â€ť
The Bishop said that Pope Francis speaks about abortion often and puts the issue in the context of the danger caused when one disowns their neighbor. â€śBy choosing evil, one disowns humanity,â€ť the Bishop added. â€śEach one of us is made in the image and likeness of God â€“ none better than any otherâ€¦ We are each called to step forward to protect all who are made in His image, including those who cannot speak for themselves â€“ the unborn.â€ť
While there have been many encouraging strides made to end the scourge that is abortion in the United States in recent months, everyone must remain vigilant as the changing political landscape could quickly reverse all the gains, the Bishop continued. â€śWe must pray for permanent change. Change that ends this debate and preserves humanity and all life.â€ť
The Mass at St. Charlotte Borromeo Parish included students from the Catholic School. The middle schoolers then led about 200 people on a Prayer Walk for Life to a nearby site where an abortion doctorâ€™s office is located. There the students led a praying of the rosary.